HLTV.org Player of the Year 2015 is Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer! He receives the number one spot in our Top 20 Ranking of 2015 powered by EGB.com as his versatility, commanding presence in the biggest games, and raw skill were a harness to fnatic's winning ways in 2015.
Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer, whose contribution to fnatic has been a key staple of that team since he and teammate Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson signed to the organisation at the end of June 2014, had been plying his trade in Counter-Strike since at least 2009.
During the WCG 2009 Sweden qualifier for example, we see olofmeister showing up on an Aquintra lineup alongside Markus "pronax" Wallsten and Richard "Xizt" Landström to put up a strong fight against the more experienced and skilled H2k team.
However, for the most part olofmeister was content to simmer beneath the surface and only occasionally play as a stand-in or on mix teams during the remainder of CS 1.6's lifespan.
With CS:GO, olofmeister was briefly part of a failed venture by H2k into the game alongside the likes of Joel "emilio" Mako, however it was only after a few more rotations through teams such as Absolute Legends and ESG that olofmeister finally found himself a roost in LGB with Mikail "Maikelele" Bill, Alexander "SKYTTEN" Carlsson, and KRIMZ in the mix as well.
The rest of the team's 2013 was marked by impressive growth against the big-time names. LGB took down a Na`Vi who were adjusting to CS:GO 2-1 at Techlabs Minsk and then at DreamHack Winter 2013, CS:GO's first major, olofmeister and his team made the playoffs and took the then juggernaut NiP to the wire in the quarter-finals.
olofmeister at DreamHack Winter 2013
Arguably the team's most significant result, and the one that helped firmly place olofmeister and his teammates on the CS:GO map, was forthcoming at the next major of EMS Katowice 2014. There, LGB managed to make the semifinals and even take a map off of event winners Virtus.pro.
Eventually, the old fnatic roster ran into its troubles and bid adieu to Jonatan "Devilwalk" Lundberg and Andreas "znajder" Lindberg and brought olofmeister and KRIMZ on board in late June. Many view this as a pivotal moment that created something of a powerhouse roster that would go on to start dominating the CS:GO scene in the second half of 2014, which is what the Swedes did and in no small part thanks to olofmeister's increasingly strong performances at offline events.
2014, which saw the player pull off some memorable moments such as the "burning defuse" during the semifinal of ESL One Cologne and some controversial ones such as "boostmeister" during the quarter-final against LDLC at DreamHack Winter, eventually saw fnatic win numerous events (StarSeries X, FACEIT S2, ESWC, Fragbite Masters 3, ESEA S17) although a Major title was still elusive.
For his role in fnatic's success in 2014, we deemed olofmeister to be the twelfth best player of the year in our top 20 ranking (http://www.hltv.org/news/13938-top-20-players-of-2014-olofm-12).
The beginning of 2015 brought fnatic into the MLG X-Games in Aspen, with the team still seared into recent memory as villains due to the controversy of DreamHack Winter from the year before.
While the community's opprobrium likely had minimal effect on fnatic's actual play, MLG X-Games Aspen was one of the few notable underperformances of the year by both olofmeister and the team as a whole. The Swedes finished fourth place by the end and clocked in notable losses against LDLC (now EnVyUs), NiP, and dignitas (now Astralis).
olofmeister was only third highest rated in his team, with a 0.97 and a 0 kdd, while also pulling in his lowest KPR (kills per round) of the year with 0.65.
The team returned to Europe and were back to winning ways at the Inferno Online Pantamera Challenge in Sweden which they won, taking down Titan 2-0 in the grand final. olofmeister was the highest rated player on his team, with a 1.10 rating and +33 kdd, and he led the event in total headshots (107) by a good measure.
ESL One Katowice rolled around as the first Major of the year and fnatic were one of the billed favourites to make the grand final. After a confident group stage that saw them defeat Vox Eminor 16-3 and Na`Vi 16-7, fnatic took down PENTA 2-0 with ease in the quarter-finals, triumphed over hometown heroes Virtus.pro 2-0 in the semifinals, and finally defeated NiP 2-1 in a close series to win the Major.
Holding the trophy high in his first win at the Majors
olofmeister had secured his first Major win in CS:GO and the 23-year-old certainly worked for it: he was the event's MVP with the best rating overall (1.31) and the highest kdd (+58); in addition, this was the second best individual performance of the year after teammate Robin "flusha" Rönnquist's later in Cologne.
olofmeister also topped the leaderboards in kill+assists per round (0.95), kills per round (0.88), total opening kills (42), opening kills per round (0.18), and was second in clutches won (6) in addition to having a high amount of impact under other categories.
After winning the Major, fnatic had about a one month break and then flew to America for the ESEA S18 Global Finals where they were clear favourites. However, something about the New World must have not been amenable to olofmeister and his teammates as they lost the grand final against a surprisingly buoyant Virtus.pro to finish second (in addition to being demolished by the anti-strat machine that is Titan in the upper bracket semis).
The CCS Kick-off Season Finals in Romania were next up for fnatic and, after a messy 0-2 opening loss to TSM (a series in which olofmeister still played well with a 44-38 and 1.03 rating), fnatic took down EnVYUs and NiP quite comfortably the next day to make the grand final. HLTV.org spoke to olofmeister where he revealed some of fnatic's mindset over the past few months and the team's struggles against TSM in the opener.
The struggles against the Danes would continue for likely longer than olofmeister at first surmised as fnatic then lost the CCS grand final to TSM with a score of 1-2 to finish second at the event. Despite the loss, olofmeister was both the second highest rated player on his team and at the event (with flusha ahead in both categories) as well as finishing in second place in a number of other metrics; overall he had a 1.13 rating and +28 kdd. He did lead however in 1+ kill rounds (51.9%), survived, kill or assist percentage (71.1%), and total headshots (84) at CCS.
TSM gave olof and his team quite a headache in mid-2015
The next few weekends were busy ones for fnatic as the team went on a blitzkrieg of attending events and next up were the FACEIT Stage 1 Finals in London. After a dominant group stage, fnatic were once again stumped, this time 0-2 by TSM in the semifinals to thereby finish 3-4th at the event.
Despite losing to TSM again, fnatic had so thoroughly savaged Liquid and NiP in their group stage games that the team were overall the highest rated at the event and the top three highest rated players were all from fnatic. For his part, olofmeister had a 1.27 and +36 kdd (second best on the team and at the event) and he led in survived, kill or assist percentage (72%).
At DreamHack Open Tours, fnatic faced a fairly weaker playing field with only EnVyUs and perhaps Titan seen as perceived challengers to the gold medal. The final was therefore a rather expected match-up between nV and the Swedes with olofmeister & co. winning the day with a 2-1 scoreline, bringing fnatic their third gold medal of the year.
olofmeister displayed a +41 kdd and a 1.20 rating, the latter being the third highest at the event as well as on his team.
The Swedes earned their fourth gold medal of the year with a win the next weekend at Gfinity Spring Masters 2 where they defeated Virtus.pro 3-0 in the grand final. On the second map of de_cache, olofmeister at one point held a formidable 19-2-0 score against the Poles (he finished 29-11). Overall, he ended the event with a 1.05 rating and +28 kdd, with the overall rating depreciated due to fnatic losing a few maps on the way to the grand final and playing close games in the best-of-two group stage.
olofmeister then underwent surgery on his right ear after Gfinity Spring Masters II and was forced to take a break from the game for two weeks, with questions arising as to whether he would be able to attend the Fragbite Masters Season 4 Finals in time.
Get well he did however, and fnatic came into Fragbite Masters Season 4 and right off the bat took wins off of Na`Vi (2-0) and TSM (2-1). However, in the grand final, TSM pulled away in the series and won the event with a commanding 3-1 score in a best-of-five and in a series where all of fnatic generally underperformed.
Despite the grand finals loss, which solidified the Danes as fnatic's arch-rivals, olofmeister had a 1.25 rating and a +49 kdd, giving him the highest rating at the event (although he was not the MVP), and he also led in kill+assists per round (0.93), kills per round (0.88), and headshots per round (0.43).
With a highlight worthy year already in the making by early June, HLTV.org decided to dedicate a compilation video to the Swedish superstar ahead of fnatic's attendance of DreamHack Open Summer.
DreamHack Open Summer saw olofmeister explode out the gate and finish the event with a 1.31 rating and a +42 kdd. Thanks to his performance, fnatic won the event over Na`Vi 2-0 and also took down NiP, Titan, and LGB along the way. HLTV.org interviewed the fnatic heavyweight after the grand final where he confirmed that TSM had become something of a thorn in their side.
DreamHack Open Summer was also olofmeister's second MVP performance of the year and he had the highest kill+assists per round (0.97), kills per round (0.92), 1+ kill rounds (57.1%), opening kills per round (0.17), and was second in total kills and total opening kills.
The summer continued to be a golden period for olofmeister as the next event was the $250,000 ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 finals where the 23-year-old pulled out another MVP performance (his third) to help fnatic win the event (their sixth). olofmeister had a 1.15 rating and a +41 kdd and the highest total kills (238) at the event.
fnatic did lose an upset opener to CLG and were also tested by a resurgent Cloud9 in the grand final, but the road was generally comfortable for the team to scoop up the first place and $100,000. HLTV.org also once again managed to interview olofmeister where the player expounded on the event's overall match-ups.
olofmeister's best map of 2015, against NiP at DreamHack Valencia
At the FACEIT Stage 2 Finals, fnatic ran into the unstoppable force that was Cloud9 during mid-summer and went out in 3-4th place with olofmeister polling a 1.18 and +26 kdd, which was the highest rating on his team; he also led in 1+ kill rounds (56.3%).
Bested by Cloud9 at FACEIT S2, olofmeister still performed well
The Swedes again took a long sojourn ahead of the next Major of ESL One Cologne, and the pause reaped dividends as they took the gold medal (the only team that really threatened them were Virtus.pro in the semifinals) and became the first team in CS:GO history to win two Majors back-to-back. olofmeister had a performance that on a normal day may have been worthy of a MVP had not teammate flusha absolutely dominated the event himself (a 1.38 event rating).
ESL ESEA Dubai saw fnatic out in 3-4th place of the $250,000 event after losing 1-2 to Virtus.pro in the semifinals with the Poles winning their maps quite convincingly (16-4 and 16-5). olofmeister generally fared well with a 1.18 rating and +22 kdd and was the fourth highest rated player of the event overall.
After this decent finish, fnatic would begin a prolonged slump that lasted up until the last Major of 2015. The first stop-off for this slump was Gfinity Champion of Champions in which fnatic only narrowly beat NiP 3-2 in the semifinals and then narrowly lost to EnVyUs 2-3 in the grand final (where only olofmeister had a positive rating on his team). olofmeister had an event 1.05 rating and +6 kdd, the highest on his team.
At the PGL Season 1 Finals, fnatic lost to TSM 0-2 in the opener before taking down Liquid 2-1 and then losing to Virtus.pro 0-2, to finish third place in a four team event. olofmeister finished with a 1.06 and +13 kdd and was second highest rated on his team.
As a result of these underperformances, some began to whisper that fnatic had internal issues as it was the first true moment of apparent troubles for the Swedish powerhouse. Such omens did not bode well ahead of the final Major of 2015, DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca, which was the next event.
After defeating Vexed, fnatic were stunned 13-16 by Luminosity in the Group A winners match which meant that they would have to play Cloud9 in the decider (a match which they easily won against the struggling North American outfit). The team's Major road came to an end in the quarter-finals where they lost 1-2 to EnVyUs which included being pillaged 16-2 on the final map.
fnatic were routed by nV in Cluj more heavily than the French cavalry at Agincourt
Cluj was a huge letdown for fnatic with three of five players finishing in the red, including olofmeister himself who had a 0.98 and -2 kdd, his second and last red finish of the year.
It became apparent that forces within the team were unsatisfied with the current state of affairs and about two weeks later, team leader pronax was ousted in the first real lineup change for fnatic since olofmeister and KRIMZ had been brought on board back in mid-2014. The duo then reunited with old LGB teammate Dennis "dennis" Edman, who was brought in from G2.
fnatic had a lot to prove after this change, as it was rightly pointed out that the team had suddenly lost a lot of their mid-game finesse and tactical ability. With flusha at the helm of the next event for fnatic, FACEIT Stage 3 Finals at DreamHack Winter, something was clearly clicking however as fnatic breezed through the group stage and then took down Virtus.pro 2-1 in the semis and Luminosity 2-1 in the grand finals to win another $250,000 event (and their eighth win of the year).
olofmeister in particular seem reinvigorated as he finished with a dominant 1.35 rating and +59 kdd, making him both our MVP of the event and even the official MVP. He was the highest rated player of the event and also led in kill+assists per round (1.02), kills per round (0.95), 1+ kill rounds (60.8%), survived, kill or assist % (75.7%), headshots per round (0.45), and success in opening duels (71.4%).
The Swedish team had two more events lined up in 2015, both of which they would win to bring their gold medal total to 10 for the year. The first was the Fragbite Masters Season 5 Finals where fnatic beat ?, SK, and NiP (although they gave up maps in the latter two series) to become back-to-back Fragbite Masters champions. olofmeister had a 1.13 and +27 kdd, the second highest on his team behind KRIMZ, and he also led in kills per round (0.79) and total opening kills (38).
Finally, fnatic went back to America for the $250,000 ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 Finals to try and win the final event of the year and to also break the curse of the team generally underperforming in North America in 2015.
olofmeister reawakened after the lineup change to be a heavy hitter in 2015's final events
Despite losing to EnVyUs 0-2 in the group stages and having to play a decider match against Liquid, fnatic then breezed through ? in the semifinals (2-0) and took advantage of Na`Vi having taken down nV in the other semifinals to play the mainly CIS region team and narrowly win the grand finals 3-2.
olofmeister was his team's best rated player with a 1.17 and a +50 kdd and he also led the event in total opening kills (52).
Why is he the best player of 2015?
There are a number of nuanced statistical reasons for why olofmeister is the best player of 2015 but it should first be stated simply: he was the best player at the biggest events and the most impactful player of the best team of 2015. olofmeister contributed most to winning big matches and grand finals at the premier events, whether they be Majors, $250,000 events, or simply ones with lots of top level teams.
In Majors, olofmeister averaged 0.82 kills per round, the best rating in said category of 2015, meaning that he was the best at consistently getting kills in the largest tournaments. His team also won 71.2% of rounds where he got a kill, another rating in which he is ranked #1 for 2015.
He was MVP in mainly the largest tournaments: ESL One Katowice, DreamHack Open Summer, ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1, and FACEIT Stage 3 finals. He was fnatic's best rated player in two other first place finishes, Inferno Online Pantamera and ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2, although other players were MVP at these events.
olofmeister pulled away in many categories to be 2015's best player
As such, at four out of seven $250,000 events this year (five of those events fnatic won), olofmeister was the team's highest rated and therefore best player.
Overall, he has a 1.20 rating across those seven events which is by far the highest of all players in 2015 and he was the best in the big matches of those events, once again with a #1 rating of 1.13.
And outside of the $250,000 big name events, olofmeister was one of the best players at 17 of the 20 events he attended and one of fnatic's best in 18 out of the same 20, making him a consistently complete player.
On top of that he was the most consistent player of the year, having a rating above 1.00 in 66.3% of his maps - and more impressively, the only one that had a rating 1.15 or higher in over 50% of his maps.
As par for the course in terms of his completeness, olofmeister was the only player above average in kills, assists, deaths, rifles, AWPing, pistols, clutches, and opening kills per round, a metric which can be summed up by saying that he was good at literally everything in the game.
He can rightly be pointed out to have been the most complete player of 2015 and as a result of all the things mentioned above, it is no question that he was the year's best.
What did you think of olofmeister's 2015? Where would you have rated him? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
That concludes our Top 20 players of 2015 ranking powered by EGB.com but you can revisit the list and reread the player profiles anytime over at the Introduction article.